Be prepared in advance for a winter storm or blizzard. There are some things that you can do before a snow storm to be ready for a possible emergency due to power outages, the inability to travel or injuries. This article provides some ideas for dealing with a winter storm.
The severity of winter storms and blizzards can vary, but most preventative measures remain the same: stay warm, stay indoors, don't overdo and stay tuned to the radio or TV for emergency information. Know that a “Winter Weather Advisory” means winter weather will be severe enough to interfere with travel. A freezing rain forecast is self-explanatory. A “Winter Storm Watch” means you should avoid unnecessary travel because of freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow. A “Winter Storm Warning” means stay indoors because of the severe weather. Lastly, a “Blizzard Warning” which means heavy snow, high winds and dangerously low temperatures. It is best not to travel during advisories.
Have your emergency plan and supplies ready to go. Stock up on non perishable food. Be prepared for frozen pipes, power outages, roofs collapsing under heavy snow, slippery roads, freezing rain, falling trees and branches. Conserve fuels by lowering your thermostat to 65° during the day and 55° at night. Close off unused rooms. Buy rock salt to melt ice on sidewalks, sand to improve traction, and snow removal equipment. In a pinch, you can use cat litter for traction on ice (but it tends to clump when wet).
A person cannot survive indoors or outdoors in freezing weather for an extended period of time without adequate protection. The risk varies a bit with wind chill factor, age, health, activity, the length of exposure, type of clothing, and whether this is a wet or dry exposure. If you must work outdoors, the old winter recommendations remain: wear a heavy coat, scarf, gloves, hat, and ear protection. Consider wearing multiple layers, even if it's wearing thin PJ bottoms and extra tee shirts. Keep clothes dry. Note: exhaustion and heart attacks are common due to over exertion outdoors. It takes considerably more stamina to work in the cold. Be sure to work for short periods of time interspersed with indoor breaks to remain warm and not to become hypothermic.
House fires are common due to improper use of heating sources. Keep flammable objects away from heating sources. Do not burn briquettes indoors because they can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not leave unwatched candles burning. Know in advance that your fireplace is clean and safe before using. A chimney fire sounds like a loud locomotive and can be extinguished by throwing water into the fireplace which will send steam upward.
Be prepared for power outages, especially after heavy snow falls or ice storms. Have blankets, foot and hand warmers, adequate firewood, fireplaces, generators, or any other alternate heat source ready to use. Consider going to public facilities to stay warm. Be sure your outdoor pipes and spigots are wrapped or protected by insulation. Has your home been winterized? Find any air leaks, below or around the doors and windows, then seal them off with throw rugs or towels. Close off unused or unneeded rooms. If power remains off and the temperatures have plummeted, in extreme emergency, bundling together may also help. If you are using a gasoline powered generator, then keep it at least 25 feet from the house.
These ideas and advice are just some the suggestions to help you survive a blizzard. We recommend that you talk with your local police and fire departments for more tips on dealing with various weather emergencies in your area.
Being prepared in advance for a winter storm or blizzard allows you to live comfortably in your home and watch the snow fall harmlessly outside.